Week 1, March 1–9, 2013


Laundry Line Divine presents: Out of the Mouths of Babes ~ March 1, 2013

Friday, March 1
Laundry Line Divine presents:
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others
Hosted by Suzi Banks Baum and Gina Hyams with special guest Susan Engel, author and professor at Williams College
Featuring readings by Suzi Banks Baum, Alana Chernila, Nichole Dupont, Janet Reich Elsbach, Michelle Gillett, and Jenny Laird

Celebrating the book launch of An Anthology of Babes: Thirty-six Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

Dewey Hall, Sheffield, 7–9: 30 p.m. (see map below)
$5 suggested donation

Returning this year after a standing-room-only premiere at last year’s Festival, “Out of the Mouths of Babes” offers readings from six Berkshire women authors, ranging from a young single mother to a mother of adult children. Join us to be entertained, challenged, echoed, and encouraged. Favorite bedtime snacks will be served at intermission, and following the readings, special guest Susan Engel will join writer and editor Gina Hyams and Suzi Banks Baum in a discussion of motherhood and creativity.

Suzi Banks Baum, by Christina Lane Photography

Suzi Banks Baum, an artist, writer, and full-time mom, can be found creating community wherever she goes. While writing her first book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers, Suzi discovered the vital voices of mothers who make art while raising children. Suzi is a theater professional, group facilitator, mixed-media collage artist, and mother of two teens. She lives in Berkshire County.   laundrylinedivine.com

Alana Chernila writes, cooks, sells fresh vegetables, and teaches kids to cook. She created the blog Eating from the Ground Up in 2008. Alana is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe and lives with her husband and two young daughters in Great Barrington, MA, where she is a selectman. Alana’s first book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, was published by Clarkson Potter in spring 2012.  www.eatingfromthegroundup.com

Nichole Dupont i
s a freelance writer and editor based in Sheffield, MA. A native of the Berkshires and a fourth-generation logger, she has cultivated a passion for food, farming, and community. Her work has appeared in NewsdayBerkshire Magazine, the Advocate Weekly, and Rural Intelligence, where she is an associate editor. She also writes for the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Sometimes she reads poetry in public, fishes for stripers in the Atlantic, and roller-skates. A former literature teacher and observer of people, she has written short stories. She also maintains a blog about the snarkier side of rural feminism and single motherhood.   www.ruralintelligence.com

Janet Reich Elsbach is a mother of three. Her interests include: what to have for dinner tonight; what to have for dinner tomorrow; whether her children are rested, fed, and encouraged; getting out of the grocery store with as little plastic packaging material as possible; and saving the bees, the oceans, and the last vestiges of true democracy. With her husband, the artist Bart Elsbach, she is managed by a small sheep farm. She writes about all of this when she can stay awake long enough.  araisinandaporpoise.com

Michelle Gillett has been a regular op-ed columnist for the Berkshire Eagle for over twenty years. An award-winning poet, she was a longtime contributing editor to the former Women’s Times. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, OrionSanctuary, Art of the Times, and other publications. Her works include A Kitchen Gardener’s Cookbook; a collection of essays entitled In Celebration of Motherhood; and two collections of poetry, Rock & Spindle, a letterpress chapbook published by Mad River Press, and Blinding the Goldfinches, published in 2005 and chosen by Hayden Carruth as winner of the Backwaters Poetry Prize. She received her MFA from Warren Wilson College and a BS from Skidmore College. Michelle lives in Stockbridge, MA.   www.gillettandryan.com

Gina Hyams is the author of eight books on various confounding subjects and creator of the “In a Box” cooking contest series of book-kits for pie, chili, and Christmas cookies. She lives in Housatonic with her family. ginahyams.com

Jenny Laird
was a longtime Chicago Playwright and Arts Advocate before settling in the Berkshires. She is the author of several award-winning plays: Ballad Hunter (Chicago’s Cunningham Prize for Playwriting), Sky Girls (NEA Distinguished New Play Grant, Selma Melvoin New Play Award), and Only the Sound (Illinois Arts Council Grant, Chicago’s Jeff Award for Outstanding New Work, 2002). With her husband, composer Randy Courts, Jenny is currently adapting a series of musicals based on The Magic Tree House books for Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior Collection. When she is not writing plays, she is busy running an intensive home-based play therapy program for her wondrous son, Quinn. Ballad Hunter at Amazon

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Why Sedna Matters to Women Writers ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2
Why Sedna Matters to Women Writers
Led by Mary Kate Jordan
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 10 a.m.–noon

Sedna, an ancient Inuit archetype, gave her name to a planetary body discovered in 2003. Sedna’s story matters to women who honor—or would like to honor—the rich possibilities of their own life stories. Women who like to get beneath the surface of things with words will find Sedna’s assistance invaluable. In this morning of storytelling followed by a Q&A, we’ll explore aspects of Sedna’s silent presence among us. We’ll discover that myth accompanies meaning at the deepest levels and experience why the deepest levels of meaning are called mythic. We’ll invite ourselves and our writing into the shamanic depths where ancient mystery and contemporary science merge into story.

Mary Kate Jordan is the author of The Bridge Called Grief, a book-length photo essay on loss, grief, and the hope of renewal. She lives in Monterey, MA, and takes photos both at home and away.  thejordancenter.com



Women of a Certain Age ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2
Women of a Certain Age
Reading hosted by Sonia Pilcer, with Allyson Dinneen, Barbara Janoff, Susie Kaufman, Ellen Meeropol, and Lee Schwartz

Mason Library, Great Barrington, 1–3 p.m.

Perhaps age and experience give us the courage to express things we kept under wraps when we were younger. Certainly our writing skills improve with time, as does the desire to say the unsaid. Come and hear a group of older women writers share their passions and what they know. There will be a discussion and Q&A afterward. Come and join the dialogue.

Novelist, playwright, and poet Sonia Pilcer began publishing novels in her twenties. She has taught for many years at the Writers Voice in Manhattan and at Berkshire Community College. Her books include Teen Angel, Maiden Rites, Little Darlings, I-Land: Manhattan Monologues, and The Holocaust Kid. She will be reading from her new novel, The Last Hotelwww.soniapilcer.com

Allyson Dinneen has a BA in environmental science and an MA in family therapy. She is at work on a semiautobiographical novel. She has always been attracted to the mysterious, both in nature and in family life. She lives in Housatonic, MA, with her two youngest children.

Barbara Janoff’s essays and poetry are published in Columbia: A Women’s Journal, Communication Arts, the Berkshire Review, and by Allworth Press. She is an associate professor of English at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, which has granted her a sabbatical next semester to explore themes of grief and recovery in her writing.  Fashion Institute of Technology

Susie Kaufman’s spiritual writing has appeared in the Jesuit magazine America, as well as in Presence, the quarterly journal of Spiritual Directors International. She recently won second prize in the New Marlboro Mystery Writer’s Contest. “Man About Town” is a version of a chapter from a novel she was working on in 2002. Another chapter of the same work was published in Lilith.

Ellen Meeropol’s writing explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil, ethical dilemma, and family life. Publishers Weekly gave her debut novel, House Arrest, a starred review, calling it “thoughtful and tightly composed, unflinching in taking on challenging subjects and deliberating uneasy ethical conundrums.”    www.ellenmeeropol.com

Lee Schwartz is a two-time winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award. Lee has been a Poet in Residence at the 92nd St Y, and read with Allen Ginsberg at NYC’s St. Mark’s Church, Billy Collins at the Bowery Poetry Club, and local poets at the Mill River General Store. This spring she will be mounting a takeoff on Brecht/Weill entitled The Two and a Half Penny Occupy Opera.


Getting Married and Other Mistakes ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Getting Married and Other Mistakes
Reading with Barbara Slate, graphic novelist
The Bookstore, Lenox, 4–5:30 p.m.

Barbara Slate will be reading from her semiautobiographical graphic novel, Getting Married and Other Mistakes (Other Press, 2012), the story of a woman who trusted everybody’s voices except her own. Ms. Slate will talk about her career in the fiercely male-dominated, super-spandexed world of comic books and how, by being the voice for Barbie, Betty, Veronica, Angel Love, Pocahontas, and many more, she was able to get her own voice heard. Barbara’s tale begins in the early ’70s with her creation of Ms. Liz, the first feminist greeting card.    www.barbaraslate.com

Barbara Slate has written over three hundred comic books and graphic novels for DC, Marvel, Archie, and Disney. She is profiled in the seminal work A Century of Women Cartoonists. Barbara teaches the art of the graphic novel in schools and libraries, using her critically acclaimed textbook You Can Do a Graphic Novel. (at Amazon)


Made in the Berkshires presents: Exquisite Dilemmas: Women and Choices ~ March 2, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Made in the Berkshires presents:
Exquisite Dilemmas: Women and Choices
Hosted by Hilary Somers Deely and Barbara Sims, featuring Sally-Jane Heit, Susan Merrill, and Joy Spivak
Unicorn Theater, Stockbridge, 7:30 p.m.
$20 admission to benefit the 2013 Made in the Berkshires Festival
For tickets, contact the Colonial Theatre box office at (413) 997-4444

Choice: n. the act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. adj. of very good quality

Join us as we eavesdrop on women who are exploring the exquisite dilemma of choosing how to live their lives. You’ll go from glee to sorrow and back again with Before I Forget, a delicious look at one woman’s life, loves, and losses, written and performed by Sally-Jane Heit with music by Uel Wade. We’ll reprise the 2012 Made in the Berkshires audience favorite The Rabbi Auditions, by Joy Spivak, in which the temple’s three-person search committee kvells, kvetches, and finally chooses a new rabbi. And we’ll round out the evening with humor, insight and personal recollections from Susan Merrill, the Berkshires’ favorite storyteller.

Sally-Jane Heit grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and trained at the High School of Performing Arts, Hunter College, and Yale Drama School. After raising three daughters in Washington, DC, she moved to New York and was cast in Michael Bennett’s Broadway musical Ballroom. Her impressive list of professional credits includes theater, television, and film. It was an inspired encounter with Lily Tomlin that ignited the passion that has evolved into her latest production, Before I Forget . . . A Musical Memoirwww.sallyjaneheit.com


Stockbridge painter and writer Susan Merrill has exhibited her paintings in numerous local venues, including, for the past five years, an annual solo show of farm animal paintings at Hancock Shaker Village.  She began writing when Lyn Austin, the head of the Music Theater Group,  asked her to write something for her annual Berkshire Writers evening. As no one could ever say no to Lyn Austin, that’s when it all started. For many years Susan read stories at the Williamsville Inn, at the request of innkeeper Gail Ryan, as part of her Stories for a Winter Evening series. The stories eventually turned themselves into two novels. Warm Morning, published in 2010, is about growing up in a magic house on a farm in rural Maryland, where Susan spent  her childhood winters. The other novel, Cool Evening, not yet published, is about another house, this one in the Berkshires, and it is from this book that Susan will read tonight. susanmerrill.com


Prior to playwriting, Joy Spivak made records and performed in Las Vegas, writing her own shows and comedy. She later changed careers, becoming the second female police officer in New Jersey. She and her husband, Jerry, reside in Naples, FL, and West Stockbridge, MA.



Made in the Berkshires is a locally grown festival of new works including theatre, film, dance, poetry, music, short stories, performance, and visual art, under the aegis of the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Hilary Somers Deely is co-curator of Made in the Berkshires. An actress, director, and producer, Hilary has headed three academic theater programs in independent schools and is an emeritus member of the Berkshire Theatre Festival board and a member of the advisory board for the Berkshire Fringe. Most recently, she joined the Fringe in its artists’ residency at Mass MOCA in a world premiere production of The Waypoint. She has voiced three roles in Gregory Whitehead’s BBC 4 radio plays; stage managed and acted in several productions at Joan Ackerman’s Mixed Company; coproduced the third year of Ten Minutes in the Berkshires; directed an Equity touring Company of My Children, My Africa; and has appeared in staged productions at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Runway Theatre in Grapevine, TX.   www.madeintheberkshires.org


Barbara Sims is co-curator of Made in the Berkshires and was a co-producer for the Free Concerts in Lilac Park series in 2010 and 2011. Her theater credits include A Streetcar Named Desire with Natasha Richardson and Noises Off with Patti LuPone on Broadway. Her Off-Broadway roles include the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Alec Baldwin; Juno and the PaycockArms and the Man, directed by Roger Rees at Circle in the Square Theatre; The Hope Zone, with Olympia Dukakis; and Trip to Bountiful, with Ellen Burstyn. She has also performed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Her film and TV credits include Law & Order: SVUGuiding Light; PBS’s End of the Line; and Cornflower Blue.   www.madeintheberkshires.org


Berkshire Magazine presents: Women Writers and the Role of the Editor ~ March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3
Berkshire Magazine presents:
Women Writers and the Role of the Editor
Hosted by Anastasia Stanmeyer, editor of Berkshire Magazine, with Robin Catalano, Nichole Dupont, Ellen G. Lahr, Gladys Montgomery, and Abby Wood
The Triplex, Great Barrington, 11 a.m.

Join Berkshire Magazine writers and editor Anastasia Stanmeyer for a panel discussion on the challenges of being a woman journalist today. Many Berkshire writers are women who must juggle second, and even third, jobs while taking care of households. The challenges are even greater for them as they try to keep a writing career going. We will also explore the many facets of the role of the editor and its importance to the development of new and established writers.   www.berkshiremag.com

Anastasia Stanmeyer
is the editor of Berkshire Magazine. She is an active member of the Berkshire community and lives with her three children and husband on a farm in South County. She spent twelve years in Asia, writing and editing for Time, Asiaweek, Newsweek, Stern, and other magazines. She has written extensively for dailies such as the Dallas Morning News, the Christian Science Monitor, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Robin Catalano has been a freelance writer and editor for fifteen years, with articles appearing in Gourmet, Culinary Trends, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Living, and Dance Spirit. She has edited more than three hundred titles for publishing companies such as Penguin Putnam/New American Library and Simon & Schuster. She is content editor and copywriter for the Annie Selke Companies and oversees the company’s social media strategy and content.

Nichole Dupont

Berkshire native Nichole Dupont is a freelance writer and editor living in Sheffield, MA. Her work has appeared in Berkshire Magazine, Newsday, Rural Intelligence, and the Advocate Weekly. When her time permits, you will find her at risqué venues, reading her poetry and fiction among sequined burlesque dancers and jazz performers, or fishing for stripers and blues in the Atlantic.   www.ruralintelligence.com

Ellen G. Lahr is a writer, editor, and journalist. She spent more than twenty-five years at the Berkshire Eagle and has freelanced for Berkshire Magazine, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, Field and Stream, the Women’s Times, Berkshires Week, and other publications. She entered the PR world in 2008. She established EGLahr Communications in 2012, serving clients in the Berkshires and Albany region.

Gladys Montgomery, an award-winning writer and editor, contributes regularly to Berkshire Magazine. She has penned hundreds of feature articles on architecture, design, and other topics for regional, national, and international magazines. She was founding editor of Berkshire Living Home + Garden, and authored five books about architecture and antiques. She is a full-time real estate agent based in Stockbridge, MA.

Abby Wood is a freelance writer and social media specialist living in Pittsfield, MA. In addition to Berkshire Magazine, her work has appeared in the North Adams Transcript, the Berkshire Eagle, and Berkshire Living. A North Adams native and Williams College alumna, she enjoys venturing into South County for writing projects. She is also social media specialist at the Annie Selke Companies.


Cows Save the Planet: How to Find and Tell Stories of Ecological and Economic Restoration ~ March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3
The New Economics Institute presents:
Cows Save the Planet: How to Find and Tell Stories of Ecological and Economic Restoration
Reading and discussion with Judith D. Schwartz , Billie Best, and Phyllis Webb
American Institute of Economic Research, Great Barrington, 3–5 p.m.

The way we see the world and its challenges is often framed by the stories we hear and tell ourselves. This panel will focus on stories for the new economy and new solutions to problems in which we feel stuck, including the stories Judith D. Schwartz found that led to her upcoming book, Cows Save the Planet. We will highlight both global and Berkshire-based narratives of resilience and renewal. We will explore how narratives can be honed and shared so as to harness optimism and create momentum for change.

Judith D. Schwartz, a freelance writer based in Bennington, VT, has written about environmental economics for Pacific Standard, Time, and the Christian Science Monitor. She is the author of Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth, due out from Chelsea Green Publishing in May.

Billie Best is a writer, farmer, and community activist. She spent many years in the corporate world as a marketing consultant. Recently, she became executive director of Project Native, a nonprofit farm in the Berkshires.

Phyllis Webb
and her husband own and run the Magic Fluke Co., a ukulele manufacturing company in Sheffield.  She has held numerous leadership positions in community organizations and has been an advocate for strong local economies for more than twenty years. She currently serves on the boards of BerkShares and Music in Common.


Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images ~ March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4
Fleeting Reality: Interpreting Place in Words and Images
Featuring Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy
Leibowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

Join photographer-writers Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Lynnette Lucy Najimy as they share their creative works in photographs and words inspired by places on opposite sides of the earth. Captivated by the underwater lifescape in Indonesia, Marie-Elizabeth wants to “capture” as much of it as she can before it disappears due to climate change and unsustainable fishing practices. She will share underwater photos, poems, and prose from her travels. While exploring the old Great Barrington Fairgrounds, Lynnette discovered through the lens of her camera a parallel between the site’s transformation and her own past, present, and future. She expresses her shift in perspective in words and images over a four-year span.

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Lynette Lucy Najimy

Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and coeditor, with Annie Finch, of the anthology Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012). She lives in Housatonic, MA, and New York.

Lynnette Lucy Najimy is a multimedia producer with an MA in philanthropy and media from Suffolk University. She is a Berkshire native and currently lives in Housatonic, MA.



Writing Your Power, Passion, and Play: Letting Your Soul Have Its Way with You ~ March 5, 2013

Tuesday, March 5
Writing Your Power, Passion, and Play: Letting Your Soul Have Its Way with You
Workshop led by Mary Campbell
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

This writing workshop will guide participants a deeper connection with their divine spark and allow that marriage to express itself in the world through the body, heart, and word.

Mary Campbell
hosts Divining Beauty workshops and offers private coaching in the Berkshires and NYC. She guides women to listen and to express the full range of their creative energy and potential. She will be ordained in spring 2013, upon completion of her ministerial training, at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary.


Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres ~ March 5, 2013

Cuatro mujeres, cuatro géneros/Four Women, Four Genres
Multimedia presentation and discussion hosted by Holly Brown
Liebowitz International Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7–9 p.m.

To browse through most contemporary anthologies of Latin American literature is to come away with the misconception that Latin American women have no voice in the Spanish-speaking literary or artistic world. In support of these underrepresented female artists, this workshop will showcase four examples of different creative genres by women from Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. The bilingual presentation will be led by Holly Brown, professor of Spanish language and literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, with student presenters Olivia Dhaliwal, Paola Garcia, Melissa Sherman-Bennett, Abby Smith, and Mayu Suzuki. There will be a round-table discussion plus an opportunity for participants to engage in an unstructured creative writing activity at the close of the presentation.

Brief biographies of artists to be showcased:


Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral (b. 1889) was a Chilean educator, poet, and feminist. She was also the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1945.


self-portrait by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (b. 1907) was a Mexican painter well known for her distinctive self-portraits. She was an autodidact.

Short Story:

María Teresa Solari Ormachea (c. 1910) was a Bolivian born Professor, poet and political activist. She was also Director of Eco femenino magazine.


Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector (b. 1920) was a Ukranian born, Brazilian novelist and journalist.


Brief biographies of event participants:

Olivia Dhaliwal is a student in her first year of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She doesn’t know what her major will be yet, but she looks forward to seeing the world and helping people in her future with whatever career enables her to do so.

Paola Garcia

Paola Garcia is a student in her second year at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. She majors in Digital Media and Cultural Studies and looks forward to doing a lot of different film related work documenting various cultures and countries.

Melissa Sherman-Bennett is a first year student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock hailing from Taos, New Mexico. She is planning on majoring in mathematics and physics, unless the world of literature lures her away from her beloved variables. Graduation is much too far away for her to imagine what she might be doing after college, but it will probably be exciting.

Abigail Smith is in her first year at Simon’s Rock and plan on majoring in Biology. After Simon’s Rock I’ll probably study pediatric medicine. Gracias.

Mayu Suzuki is a sophomore in Simon’s Rock. She majors in literature and creative writing, and upon completing her degree she plans on going to graduate school.

Holly Brown teaches Spanish language and literature this year at Simon’s Rock as a faculty fellow hailing from Bard High School Early College in Queens and is pursuing her PhD. in Medieval Spanish Literature.


WRites of Passage and the Age of Becoming: Puberty and the Onset of Fertility ~ March 6, 2013

Wednesday, March 6
WRites of Passage and the Age of Becoming: Puberty and the Onset of Fertility
Writing workshop hosted by Angela R. Vuagniaux, with Anni Crofut and Suzi Fowle
Sruti Yoga Center, 33 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, 7–9 p.m.

Participants will be invited to explore some of the pivotal moments in their lives through writing prompts, discussion, free writing, and sharing.

Angela Vuagniaux

Angela Vuagniaux writes nonfiction in order to understand her life as a menopausal stepmother to a pubescent eleven-year-old, while healing from her experience as a teenage birth mother. Over the years she has been a writer, teacher, vagabond, grant writer, and caregiver. She has participated in numerous writing workshops and led a few of her own.

Anni Crofut

Anni Crofut, who lives in Housatonic, MA, has chosen an eclectic path, mixing her work as jewelry designer with her passions for Indonesia, writing, and movement. Her musings appear on her blog Anni Maliki.com.

Suzie Fowle is a wildlife biologist and mother. She enjoys delving into and asking questions about menarche and fertility. Her essay “Mothering by Moonlight” was featured at the 2012 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers Gala Finale.


The Berkshire Immigrant Center presents: Coming to America ~ March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013
The Berkshire Immigrant Center presents:
Coming to America: a reading hosted by Greta Phinney, with Marcela Villada Peacock, Youlin Shi, Liliana Sills, and Yuko Takaya
Griffin Hall #3 Williams College, Williamstown, 4:15 p.m.

BIC Writing Workshop participants having fun!

The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers has inspired the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) to mark Women’s History Month by encouraging and supporting immigrant woman to share their unique and compelling stories. In a series of workshops led by Greta Phinney, who has successfully conducted adult workshops for English as a Second Language both in Pittsfield and abroad, this diverse group of women have prepared their stories to present. None of the participants had previously documented their stories and each faced the challenges of writing and reading in a second language. The women were selected from BIC clients, friends, and through public notice. They have taken the theme “coming to America” in many directions, representing their diverse cultures and rich life experiences.

Greta Phinney was a public school teacher for thirty-seven years. She first used the workshop approach with elementary teachers who were English language learners, while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia in 1998. In 2003, she experimented with using this approach with students in an English-speaking school in Vanuatu. She began teaching English as a foreign language in Costa Rica in 2006. Since then she has taught English to adults in Buenos Aires and Costa Rica and trained teachers to teach English. She has worked at the Adult Learning Center in Pittsfield, teaching community classes in English, at both beginner and intermediate levels. “Having the opportunity to use my skills as a teacher and a writer to empower others is deeply rewarding!”

Marcela Villada Peacock left Mexico in 1974 to follow her husband to California, where he was a PhD student. She had completed three and half years of a psychology program at the National University in Mexico City. She and her husband live in Williamstown, where they raised their three daughters, all of whom are bilingual. Marcela has worked for the past eighteen years as the program coordinator of Williams College Multicultural Center, now the Davis Center, where she supports minority students and their families. “I want to share this story because my heart now is on the other side of the border. I am interested in issues about immigration and I want to help my people to make the transition, which I know is not easy.”

Youlin Shi was born in China, graduated from Heibei University, and taught history at a college in Beijing. Her husband, Kailia, came to the United States in 1986 to attend graduate school. She followed in 1987 and they became citizens in 2000. They now live in North Adams, where Youlin is a tai-chi instructor and Kailai is a history professor at MCLA. Their daughter is attending graduate school. “I think that American history is in some ways the history of how immigrants are able to take root, flourish, and make America what it is. I believe the great American story is made of individual small stories like mine, which I would like to share and pass on to next generations.”

Liliana Sills was born in Mexico and came to the United States in 2001 after she married an American whom she met in Mexico. She became a citizen in 2005. Liliana completed a BA in business in Mexico and worked as an elementary school teacher for ten years. In the United States, she acquired a Foreign Language teaching certificate and started teaching in middle and high schools. Before coming to the Berkshires, Liliana lived in New York City and Connecticut and completed a MS in school psychology. Today, she is a single mother of two young children and is pursuing a School Psychology certificate. “I would like to be part of the program to learn and share experiences with other women, who may have different backgrounds and stories but who share having been foreigners who started a new life from scratch.”

Yuko Takaya was born in Japan and graduated from college in 1978. After a stint in banking, she completed courses in interior design in Tokyo and London and worked as an interior coordinator for ten years in Tokyo. She came to United States in 2003, married in 2004, and then divorced. She came to the Berkshires in 2005 and has held waitressing jobs since then. “I believe writing my story is a good opportunity for me to look back at my life objectively in order to let go of all past traumatic experiences and be free from them.”


Kripalu presents: Salmon in the Stream: A Lecture on Writing By Julia Cameron ~ March 7, 2013

Thursday, March 7
Kripalu presents:
Salmon in the Stream: A Lecture on Writing
By Julia Cameron
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Lenox, 7:30 p.m.
$25 admission. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 800-741-7353.

Julia Cameron, best-selling author of The Artist’s Way and more than thirty other books, shares her insights on writing and the tools she has used in her own three-decade career, during which she has also written movies, music, poetry, and journalism, and sold more than four million copies of her books worldwide.

Julia Cameron is the author of more than thirty books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Artist’s Way; The Vein of Gold; The Right to Write; The Sound of Paper; Walking in This World, Finding Water; and her most recent work, The Prosperous Heart, her best-selling book on the creative process. A songwriter, memoirist, novelist, award-winning playwright, and poet, she has extensive credits in film, television, and theater.

See all four Kripalu Festival events here.


Do You Want to Be a Published Author? ~ March 8, 2013

Friday, March 8
Do You Want to Be a Published Author?
Interactive Discussion hosted by Carole Owens, with Julia Lord, Roberta Silman, and Edith Velmans
Stockbridge Library, 4–6 p.m.

Why do you want to write? Is it for fame and fortune? You may be disappointed: the vast majority of writers are neither famous nor rich. Do you want to write for the love of it? To find truth? To persuade? To entertain? For whom do you want to write—how do you visualize your audience? Finding the answers to these and other questions will help shape and motivate your craft. Authors will discuss the writer’s experience, what motivated them to write, and the rewards and the drawbacks. A literary agent will discuss why knowing the answers to these questions will help you write works more likely to be published. A discussion will follow with audience members about their aspirations, motivations, and questions.

Carole Owens is the author of The Berkshire Cottages and seven other published books. She has written features for numerous magazines and writes a biweekly column in the Berkshire Eagle and the Berkshire Record. In 2006, she was named Scholar in Residence at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities; and between 2006 and 2008 she mounted three exhibitions on Berkshire history: Pittsfield During the Gilded Age, Fertile Ground: Berkshire Artists and Writers, and Rockwell’s Vision of Melville’s World. Carole has been a consultant to or featured on A&E’s America’s Castles and City Confidential, PBS’s Chronicles, and other programs.

Julia Lord runs a small, tenacious literary agency working with high-quality writers in adult fiction and nonfiction. Julia began her career in 1985, working for actors at the Monty Silver Agency. She opened its literary department, representing writers for film, television, and theater. She moved to books and opened Julia Lord Literary Management in 1999. Her mission is very hands-on: to work with writers to develop their careers from idea through publication and marketing. Her office is known for her steadfast commitment to each and every author and book project.

Roberta Silman, a Guggenheim and NEA Fellow, has published Blood Relations, Boundaries, The Dream Dredger, Beginning The World Again, and Somebody’s Else’s Child. The winner of the Child Study Association Award, two National Magazine Awards, Honorable Mention for the PEN Hemingway and Janet Kafka Prizes, and two Pen Syndicated Fiction Prizes, she has had stories in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and many other magazines, as well as on National Public Radio. She is also a regular reviewer for the Boston Globe and the online ArtsFuse.

Edith Velmans is the author of Edith’s Story, a biography that tells the story of her family, Jews living in Holland during WWII. A trained psychologist, she had a full career before turning to writing in 1997. Edith’s Story has been translated into ten languages and distributed worldwide. The book and its author have received prizes and honors in England, the Netherlands, and the United States.


Before I Forget . . . A Workshop in Memoir Making ~ March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013
Before I Forget . . . A Workshop in Memoir Making (or, How to Tell a Story That Never Stays the Same)
Led by Sally-Jane Heit, with special guest Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez; Uel Wade on piano.
Blodgett House, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 7 p.m.

Playwright, actor, and singer Sally-Jane Heit shares excerpts from Before I Forget . . . A Memoir with Music and discusses how she came to create this masterful one-woman show. The highs and lows of Sally-Jane’s life provide new material for the shaping and reshaping of what will never be a finished piece. Out of the mouth of an old babe, this workshop invites you to listen, remember, share, and, of course, ask questions. Sally-Jane may not know the answers, but that has never stopped her from telling you what to do! With her infectious brand of humor, wit, and wisdom, she demonstrates how to tell your truth your way. As life goes on, so does the memoir.

Sally-Jane Heit grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where the attempt to rival attention among her seven siblings stirred her natural abilities as a performer—singing, dancing, and acting. Sally Jane trained at the High School of Performing Arts, Hunter College, and Yale Drama School. After raising three daughters in Washington, DC, she moved to New York and was cast in Michael Bennett’s Broadway musical Ballroom. Her impressive list of professional credits includes theater, television, and film. It was an inspired encounter with Lily Tomlin that ignited the passion that has evolved into her latest production, Before I Forget . . . A Musical Memoirwww.sallyjaneheit.com

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, PhD, is associate professor of comparative literature at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, where she also teaches human rights, gender studies, and media studies. She blogs regularly on politics and environmental issues at Transition Times and is the founding director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. She is the editor of the anthology Women Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and the Caribbean (South End Press, 2004) and coeditor of African Women Writing Resistance: Contemporary Voices (University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). She is currently working on a memoir that fuses the personal and the political, with a focus on environmental justice.   University of Wisconsin Press: African Women Writing Resistance.


Return to Little Women ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9
Return to Little Women
A multimedia lecture presented by Iris Bass
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 10 a.m.–noon

Sometimes we find great richness in exploring our own backyard. Such is the case with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Many have not gone back to this classic story since reading it as a child, not realizing the degree to which the character of Jo reflects feminist writer Alcott’s fervent belief that women of her day had the right to pursue careers. Written in Concord, MA, in 1868–69, the novel is both autobiographical and an idealization of the grounded family life and loving marriage that Alcott never had.

Published author Iris Bass, who for four years presented the “Words before Music” opera­literature series at Lee Library, will take readers on a literary journey back to this seminal work while also moving forward to American composer Mark Adamo’s 1998 opera based on Little Women, using excerpts from its audio recording.  www.markadamo.com/little-women





Women, Creativity & Aging ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Women, Creativity & Aging
Hosted by Sondra Zeidenstein
Mason Library, Great Barrington, 1–3 p.m.

This interactive discussion, led by octogenarian Sondra Zeidenstein, will help participants focus on the way aging is helping or hindering their creative process: the content of their work, their productivity, their publication, their mood, their sense of community.

Sondra Zeidenstein
 is a poet and publisher of Chicory Blue Press, a feminist press dedicated to publishing poetry by women over the age of seventy. She has a PhD in literature from Columbia University. Now eighty, she is committed to helping artists explore the ageism in our culture: how we have internalized it, and how we can overcome it in our creative lives. She has been writing about and leading discussions on the topic of creativity and age for many years. The first book her press published was A Wider Giving: Women Writing After a Long Silence.  www.chicorybluepress.com


Your Genie Awaits—How to Access Your Wisdom Through Writing ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Your Genie Awaits—How to Access Your Wisdom Through Writing
Hosted by Millie Calesky
Lichtenstein Center, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, 1–4 p.m.

The best answers to your life challenges often lie within. Journaling is an effective way to tap into your deepest wisdom. If you’re ready to access your “inner genie” through writing, it’s simple to get started. Come to this workshop to learn three proven strategies to begin or to strengthen your journaling practice. You’ll find the process grounding and energizing, and the rewards deeply satisfying.

Millie Calesky. Photo by Keith Emerling

Millie Calesky, a seasoned professional coach, draws from her background as an English teacher, editor, and author. She provides her writing clients with the tools, support, and structure they need to achieve their goals. Millie has guided many to break through their roadblocks and complete projects, such as books, master’s theses, and PhD dissertations. A graduate of Coach University, Millie has a BA in English and American literature from McGill University. She honed her skills over thirty-plus years by working in the publishing industry and by studying with writing teachers, such as Natalie Goldberg and Linda Metcalf. Her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines, and online. www.milliecalesky.com


Alison Larkin LIVE! ~ March 9, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013
Alison Larkin LIVE!
Unicorn Theater, Stockbridge, 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $20 to benefit the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
For tickets, contact the Colonial Theatre box office at (413) 997-4444

Internationally acclaimed comedienne Alison Larkin will perform a sneak preview of her new one-woman show, Alison Larkin LIVE! as a fund-raiser for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Alison’s first solo show, from which sprang her autobiographical novel, The English American, played to high critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, with The (London) Times calling the show “Hugely entertaining—marvelously light footed”; NBC-TV hailing Alison as “a hysterically funny new bi-hemispheric comedienne”; and Vogue calling it “most powerful book of the season.”’ The English American tells the story of an adopted English woman who finds her birth parents in the United States. It is under development as a movie, with Alison cowriting the screenplay. In a unique blend of stand-up comedy and theater, Alison will entertain, chat about the real story behind her novel and take a comedic look at life as an English American.   alisonlarkin.com/the-english-american-book

As an actress, Alison Larkin has appeared on and off Broadway with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. A headliner at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, she also spent three years under studio contract to star in her own sitcom with CBS and Jim Henson productions. She has narrated over thirty best-selling audio books since moving to Great Barrington, MA, in 2010, including The English American, for which she won the prestigious AudioFile Earphones Award.  alisonlarkin.com


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